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News from the Lincoln Fields

Shareholders often ask about the kinds of methods we use to control pests around the farm. Pest management on a farm is, of course, much different than in a garden. In a garden, if one rabbit or a whole lot of insects destroy your two chard plants, tragically, your crop is gone. On the farm, farmers like us, who use sustainable methods, need to integrate losses from pests into our planning.

When you have a whole field of onions, even if some pests munch a dozen or two of them, the loss is so marginal it does not affect your crop. Having said that, we are constantly thinking of new ways to minimize the losses around the farm. Pests come in different sizes, from the tiny flea beetles that make holes in the arugula to deer and groundhogs.

The methods come as varied as the pests we fight. We use preventative techniques, such as ground cloth, which looks like a giant sheet that we use to cover entire rows of crops, and crop rotation, which works by delaying the appearance of pests in new locations. When pests arrive, we can use the old standby of going plant by plant and collecting each potato beetle into buckets, or if the insect pressure gets really bad, we can use organic pesticides as a last resort to save a crop.

For the larger animals, we sometimes use a solar powered electric fence and (my all time favorite) our plastic coyote, which manages to startle both us and some of our four-legged pests every time we see it in the fields. Insects, like plants, don’t like the heat and lack of water, so one good result of this year’s combination of heat waves and almost-drought conditions has been that many of the insects that cause the most problems have not done very well, causing little damage to our crops.

Meet Your Farmers

each week two of our Lincoln youth interns will introduce themselves

Hi, my name is Valerie Cardoso. I am 18 years old and I am from Boston. This is my third summer at The Food Project and my last as a youth worker because I will be attending college in the fall. I have stayed at The Food Project for so long because I am a strong advocate of food justice and I can't see myself working anywhere other than outside. My favorite things to harvest are potatoes, but my favorite vegetables to eat are carrots.

Hello, my name is Omar Omar. I am 15 years old and I am from Boston. This is my second summer with The Food Project. Outside of The Food Project I enjoy writing my own music. I stay with The Food Project because I like what I've done here, working in the fields in the morning, then later going to the farmers' market and seeing how the work I did makes a difference. This touched me and so I stayed. Since I started at The Food Project I've learned about new fruits and vegetables including yellow watermelon.

 

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